8.1 miles (+2.9 miles of jeep roads)
Adults: Day Pass $3/5-Day Pass $10 | Kids (12 & under) FREE
Orange Loop | Blue Stem
| Cactus Knob | Cat Claw | Fire Wheel
Lower Creek Loop | Red Oak | Spanish Dagger | Twist 'n Shout
Climbs: 205 | Armadillo | Briar Patch | Broadway | Cactus Knob
Chainsaw | Culo de Gato | Flying Scot | Nacho Mama | Rocky Top
Root Hog or Die | Saccharin | Sand Box | South Creek | Space Man
Tarzan | Tree Gate | Two Kids | Western Auto
• Bike wash
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• Camping is available
• No dogs allowed!
Solavaca Ranch is just
what you would expect from a privately owned ranch featuring a mountain
bike trail: unique features, many well-named sections, and enough challenges
to make it worth your time (and the next and the next...), but not so
challenging as to make you question ever coming back. Trust me, you
will want to come back and soon.
Although my ride was slightly adjusted from the norm, due to being laid out for a North Texas XC Series race the following weekend, very little was sacrificed from the pleasures one would enjoy any other day at Solavaca Ranch. The great thing was that I had the pleasure of being personally “guided” along Solavaca’s well-designed trails by the owner, Mack Hargrave. One thing’s for sure, its 7.5 miles of singletrack made for a sweet, challenging course.
The first section you’ll ride is named Spanish Dagger and comprises both the Blue Loop and Twist ‘n Shout. Twist ‘n Shout definitely lives up to its name as the singletrack will have you and your bike doing just that, twisting around and through the trees. As a matter-of-fact, I started having flashbacks from Cleburne State Park’s White-tail Hollow Trail. Just be sure to give out a loud shout when you make it through.
The Cat’s Claw is a section that anyone will love to fly along, as long as you stay in control you’ll be ok. The Cat’s Claw claim to fame: Culo de Gato. For those who have attempted the Culo de Gato (and know what its name translates to), will agree that this “little” climb is appropriately namely. Although not a long or ridiculously steep climb, its combined features make it a bit more difficult than it perhaps should be. Oh, and that little ledge near the top, right after turning, well it doesn’t exactly make the climb any easier. Make it up to the top without dabbing once and join the gifted few who have done the same by signing the wall back at the barn.
As the trail continues, you will eventually find yourself out in the open, gliding along the singletrack that Mack has laid out. These sections are smooth and rather flowing, but if it’s a really hot day, you’ll be wishing for the trees again. Eventually, however, you will reach the Lower Creek. Prepare to smile big, if not start laughing with delight, as you rush down into the creek bed, and fly out the other side. In some instances, however, you won’t so much fly back out as you will almost fly out as you quickly turn to do it again! It’s quick, so be ready to shift those gears.
Not long after wrapping up the Lower Creek, you’ll find yourself flying up and then down the bridge that you had gone under earlier. Think of the bridge as your signal that the ride is almost over…at least the first lap, anyhow. As you roll back to the barn keep in mind one thing: every inch of trail that you just rode was designed not by professionals, but by its very owner. Places like Solavaca Ranch demonstrate just how sweet a trail can be when you add a little pride into the equation.
~ MountainBikeTx.com(Apr 2010)